Crystal structure reveals basis for the inhibitor resistance of human brain trypsin

Gergely Katona, Gunnar I. Berglund, Janos Hajdu, László Gráf, László Szilágyi

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Severe neurodegradative brain diseases, like Alzheimer, are tightly linked with proteolytic activity in the human brain. Proteinases expressed in the brain, such as human trypsin IV, are likely to be involved in the pathomechanism of these diseases. The observation of amyloid formed in the brain of transgenic mice expressing human trypsin IV supports this hypothesis. Human trypsin IV is also resistant towards all studied naturally occurring polypeptide inhibitors. It has been postulated that the substitution of Gly193 to arginine is responsible for this inhibitor resistance. Here we report the X-ray structure of human trypsin IV in complex with the inhibitor benzamidine at 1.7 Å resolution. The overall fold of human trypsin IV is similar to human trypsin I, with a root-mean square deviation of only 0.5 Å for all Cα positions. The crystal structure reveals the orientation of the side-chain of Arg193, which occupies an extended conformation and fills the S2′ subsite. An analysis of surface electrostatic potentials shows an unusually strong clustering of positive charges around the primary specificity pocket, to which the side-chain of Arg193 also contributes. These unique features of the crystal structure provide a structural basis for the enhanced inhibitor resistance, and enhanced substrate restriction, of human trypsin IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1209-1218
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2002



  • Alzheimer disease
  • Brain trypsin
  • Hereditary pancreatitis
  • Inhibitor resistance
  • Protein crystallography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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